Fed up of complaints against city restaurants and liquor shops selling alcohol to those below 25, the excise department has directed them to seek age proof of customers to curb underage drinking. Excise officials will carry out surprise checks to see if the rule is being implemented or not.
We decided to carry out our own surprise check to find out if the directive is deterring restaurants from selling liquor to the under-aged. Much to our shock, several leading bars in the city readily agreed to host college freshers parties and serve liquor to those below 25. “Which liquor brand would you like? We have the best collection,” the manager of a popular nightclub in Connaught Place said. Youngsters, too, confess to being served alcohol without any hurdle. “I have gone out partying with my friends with booze on the house. No one asks for age proofs,” says a 21-year-old college student on condition of anonymity. Experts advocate crackdown on pubs to stop underage drinking. “The law is implemented in letter and not spirit. We need checks to handle the situation,” says Dr Poonam Verma, principal, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. “Surprise checks in pubs will ensure strict enforcement,” says Prince Singhal of CADD - Campaign Against Drinking & Driving. The move hasn’t gone down well with restaurateurs. Sameer Chawla of Blue’s Cafe says, “It is ridiculous to ask guests to fetch age proofs. We cannot offend them.” Priyank Sukhija of Out of the Box, Hauz Khas Village says, “We will have to shut shop if we ask customers to show age proof. Visual profiling of the guest is good enough.”